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Arkansas is a great place to pursue higher education with 40 institutions of higher learning across the state and close to 200,000 students. Arkansas college campuses are centers of learning, but they also become home to their students. Each campus has unique places for students to study, relax and enjoy the beauty of campus life and all Arkansas has to offer. Whether you’re choosing an Arkansas college to attend or simply want to enjoy the uniqueness of each campus, check out the following campuses for unique and beautiful places.
Photo: Great Degree – Flickr
Old Main is the oldest building on campus and noted for its twin towers. Visit the top floor of Old Main for a picturesque view of the campus. The bells chime every hour, with a larger selection of songs played at noon and the alma mater at 5 p.m. Old Main Arboretum, that beautiful expanse of lawn and towering trees that greet you from the east side of campus, holds every type of tree native to Arkansas.
It wouldn’t be a trip to campus without a visit to the Greek Theatre. A favorite study spot for students on sunny days, the Greek Theatre was built in 1930 and gifted to the university from Chi Omega.
The story of this large piece of limestone dates back to the building of Old Main. When a cart carrying the limestone broke, builders decided to leave the heavy stone where it lay and it became a landmark for the university. Male and female students began using the stone to leave notes for each other in the days when co-eds weren’t allowed to mingle. The stone developed quite a reputation. It was damaged in February 2020 when a work truck hit it, but the university hired a stonemason to repair the icon and it still graces the lawn of Old Main.
The arch is the oldest structure on the Arkansas State University campus. The campus once hosted a Training School for education majors, who taught K-12 students at the school. The Training School Class of 1927 donated the arch to the university. It once marked the entrance to the college, though now its location is in the heart of campus.
Photo Courtesy of Arkansas State University Museum, Jonesboro.
The Arkansas State University Museum opened in 1933. Housed in the Dean B. Ellis Library, the museum is the largest in Northeast Arkansas and is a center for learning for both university students and the community. A mastodon skeleton headlines the collections, but visitors can also view exhibits on Rockabilly, the Arkansas frontier, earthquakes and natural and Native American history.
Coleman Creek runs the length of campus at the University of Arkansas – Little Rock. Once seen as a nuisance because of flooding and drainage issues, the university and community decided to create a greenway. It contains a pedestrian and bike path that links the north and south parts of campus. Trail of Tears Park, on the south end of the greenway, is a 4.5-acre park planted with native trees and grasses.
The Sequoyah National Research Center at University Plaza on campus contains the largest collection of Native American written and creative work in the world. The center offers internships and volunteer opportunities for students and a research room to access its broad collection.
Centennial Plaza was dedicated in 2005 in honor of Rush and Linda Harding after a $1.2 million gift to the university. The plaza contains a fountain, three connected arches and beautiful gardens. It welcomes students to campus from Alumni Circle, directly in front of UCA’s Old Main building.
Photo: Courtesy of Arkansas Tech University
The bell tower honors former men’s football and basketball coach Sam Hindsman and is in the heart of Arkansas Tech’s campus. It offers a great meeting spot for students and is often the location for campus events.
Arkansas Tech houses a 16-inch telescope available to faculty and students. It is one of only three observatories in the state of Arkansas.
Photo: Liz Culp Howell
The set of stand-alone swings at Harding have a long history. First constructed by maintenance employee Harvey Dykes in 1934, Harding co-eds were able to sit side by side when most activity on campus was restricted to groups of six or more. The swings could only be used during daylight hours at first. After flood lights were added, couples were allowed to enjoy the swings after sunset as well. There is even a saying at Harding, “three swings and a ring,” meaning if you swing with your beau on three different Harding swings, you’ll soon have an engagement ring.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Ellis Hall is one of the oldest buildings on the 175-acre campus in Conway. The building was once the residence of the President of the college. It was built in 1913 and includes a back porch with swings perfect for lounging on while studying. Ellis Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo: Ouachita Student Foundation
In the center of Ouachita Baptist University is a Neighbor’s Table, a handcrafted wooden table meant to provide a place for friends and neighbors to come together for community and conversation. Neighbor’s table was founded by OBU graduate Sarah Harmeyer, so it is fitting the table graces the center of campus.
It’s unique places like these that welcome students and turn Arkansas college campuses into homes. For more information on the colleges featured here or others across the state of Arkansas, visit the Arkansas Division of Higher Education and find out which campus is right for you. It’s sure to have its own unique and beautiful places to explore while getting a great education.
Header photo courtesy of Beth Richmond Hendrix.
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